Catalan rumba was declared Catalan Cultural Heritage in 2015. In the same year, UNESCO’s recognition also began to be pursued, but to no avail. Now, a new platform with the children of Peret and El Chacho has set out to achieve it… at last.

Peret. Rumba Catalana.

The petition to UNESCO to designate the Catalan rumba as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity began as a citizens’ initiative in 2015. Eight years later, that association, which eventually withdrew, has been replaced by the Plataforma por la Rumba.

This is an initiative of Rosa Pubill, Peret’s daughter, Amadeu Valentí, son of El Chacho, Sicus Cabornell, the gypsy community of Catalonia, associations, musicians, and other artists.

For the time being, the International Day of Catalan Rumba is already underway for 24 July. It also seems that the Catalan Parliament will give its approval to the music promotion plan presented by the platform. The paperwork for UNESCO is ready, and the only thing that could be left for a second stage is the creation of a museum to house a historical archive of this musical genre.

Catalan rumba and flamenco rumba.

The relationship of this style with flamenco continues to generate confusion. For many aficionados, it is not far from being a flamenco palo.

First came the flamenco rumba, which is based on Cuban music, possibly guaguancó or guaracha. And this rumba, in the gypsy neighbourhoods of the Catalan capital, added another influence, rock. In addition, a new way of playing the guitar known as “fan” was introduced. It consists of strumming and striking the guitar at the same time, thus adding percussion to its function.

However, when Peret gave him visibility and fame in the 1960s, his rumba was called rumba. The “Catalonian” would come with the contributions of other artists, who brought the genre closer to salsa and jazz, as was the case with El Chacho.

Who invented it? ¿Quién la inventó?

As we mentioned earlier, Peret gave Catalan rumba a huge commercial dimension. He was the first artist to record an album in this genre, in 1957. Una lágrima, a 1967 song, would bring him fame; El Borriquito took him to international stardom. She starred in several films and represented Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest with another hit: Canta y sé feliz. He became the “King of Rumba”.

There was only one problem. Peret claimed to be the inventor of the “ventilador”, but flamenco musicians of the time say that El Pescaílla’s father already played this way. His son learned it from him to liven up the flamenco parties of the time.

In any case, they decided to remain friends, which they were, rather than take the matter to another level. They would have liked to know that Catalan rumba can become a universal good.

Peret. Rumba catalan

Peret. Rumba catalana.

Peret: I am the Rumba

The documentary is both an intimate portrait and a tribute to Pere Subirà Calaf, Peret. With the complicity of his grandchildren and friends such as Petitet, Justo Molinero, and even his favorite tailor in the Sant Antoni neighborhood, the documentary tells the story of Peret’s “film life” from close quarters, after-dinner chats in the bar using archive material and dramatizations’ You can’t miss it!